The Meaning of Life 

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” (Nelson Henderson)

 

There has been one question that has troubled humanity ever since people have started wondering about their existence on Earth. What is the meaning of life? From simple folks to wise older men, from clerics to philosophers, from youngsters to elders, everyone has at least once in their being asked that question – to others or themselves.

 

Have you ever thought about the meaning of life? Regardless of the theories which you believe, your religion (or the lack of it), you must have had, at least once in your life, a moment when you questioned the existence of all beings, of life itself, on Earth. But then again, considering all theories, religions, scientific discoveries, and anything else you wish to take into account, there is no real answer to that question.

Photo by David Vig on Unsplash

So maybe the question is wrong. Perhaps the question should be: What is the meaning of my life?

 

If you put it like that, you might find an answer because the meaning of our life is what every one of us chooses to give it.

 

“Why are we here?”

“What is life all about?”

“What is the purpose of existence?”

All these are but variations of the same question. It is in our human nature to raise such issues and to strive to find the answers. The search for the meaning of life has produced massive philosophical, scientific, theological, and metaphysical speculation during the history of humankind. Different people and different cultures provide different answers, as we believe in different things. There are many factors to be considered, such as social status, happiness, morality, ontology, values, ethics, free will, religious concepts, the belief in the soul and the afterlife, the universe and all that we know now about it!

 

For centuries, philosophers (and lately even psychologists) have struggled to come up with solid theories and documented answers to the big question. But somehow the friendlier pop-culture of the 20th century has managed to reach the masses with a different approach (especially since the masses were no longer interested in dusty, heavy books to read). Let’s take a look at a few examples:

 

In Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, there are several allusions to, well, the meaning of life, of course! At the end of the film, a character is handed an envelope which holds “the meaning of life.” The actor opens it and reads out to the audience: “Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

 

 

In Douglas Adams’ popular comedy book, movie, television, and radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is given the numeric solution “42”, after seven and a half million years of calculation by a giant supercomputer called Deep Thought. When this answer is met with confusion and anger from its constructors, Deep Thought explains that: “I think the problem such as it was, was too broadly based. You never actually stated what the question was.”

 

In the episode “Homer the Heretic” of The Simpsons, a representation of God agrees to tell Homer what the meaning of life really is, but in that exact moment, the show’s credits begin to roll.

 

In the series “Person of Interest” (season 5, episode 13), an artificial intelligence called The Machine tells Harold Finch the secret of life: “Everyone dies alone. But if you mean something to someone, if you help someone or love someone, if even a single person remembers you, then maybe you never really die at all.” *

 

So ask yourself what is important to you, in the first place? Is it money? Is it family? Is it social achievements or a career? Do you wish to see the world and discover the meaning of life through adventure and travel? Do you want to leave something memorable behind so that you won’t be forgotten after your time on this world has run out?

 

What do you want the meaning of your life to be?

 

Remember: even the smallest and simplest things that you do in life can have an impact on your legacy! For instance, small gestures such as sending a letter to your grandchildren to the future or something that will help them preserve a kind memory of you.

 

Happiness is something you choose, not something that is given to you. Life is what you make of it, not something that is handed to you. Why should the meaning of life be anything else than what you wish it to be? You are the only answer to the question! So enjoy each moment, treasure each day, love and be loved and make sure you will pass on the love to those who will be your heritage on this Earth.

 

In the words of the ever-fascinating Pablo Picasso: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

 

 

*The example series was put together with the kind help of Wikipedia.